Life is Good (a Father’s day blog)

Some weekends resolve themselves so pleasantly it’s awe-inspiring. We (Dad, step-mom, two boys) have, for several years, been taking off on Father’s day weekend for a campground near Ashland, Oregon for my annual bacon eating ritual. Well, several other things as well including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, but it’s the bacon that I enjoy the most.

Several years ago I decided meat in general and bacon in particular was probably not good for my system if I continued to eat it regularly, so now I limit myself to meat very sporadically and bacon on maybe two occasions a year (Christmas being the other time).

This morning my wife prepared for me the cooked breakfast I love the most: bacon, fried eggs, fried bread and baked beans (the English Heinz Baked Beans – so much better than any US variety available).  The bacon was particularly good this year – I dismissed the prepackaged bacon and went to the deli counter and found some local smoked peppered bacon, probably my best decision since taking on the Stieg Larsson Millennium series nearly three years ago (guilty of hyperbole? – surely not).

On arrival at the campground last Thursday we were surprised to find that the powers that be have started taking reservations for sites where it used to be first come, first served. We were dismayed to find that so many sites had been booked ahead of time. But then, to our joy, we saw our favorite site was only occupied for one more night. So we settled in to an inferior space briefly and transferred everything the next day.

Why do we like this site so much? This is the view when we open the tent flap:

I mentioned OSF above and we’ve seen some wonderful theatre this weekend. My wife and I come a couple of times a year to see the plays (and meet old friends), but it’s gratifying when I bring my boys and they can enjoy the performances as well.

I particularly want to mention the musical ‘She Loves Me’. OSF have only recently introduced musicals and I’m not a big fan of the genre – but this was an excellent show in so many respects. The male lead is a fellow called Mark Bedard who is just wonderful in this and has been a joy to watch in almost everything we’ve seen him – very versatile (well, it can’t hurt that my wife coached him when he was an undergraduate in the drama department of UC Irvine…). But the whole cast was admirable and the show a high spot of the weekend.

Earlier in the day we’d met with fellow narrator Grover Gardner and family, and went for a picnic up a nearby hill (lovely views). We stopped on the way back for wine tasting at RoxyAnn Winery (I recommend the Merlot).

Being a Dad is a mixed bag… but it’s so much better than the alternative. Bringing up kids (even when sharing the time with their real mom) can sometimes be a trial…. But the rewards are so huge that I can’t conceive of what my life would have been like without them – I certainly would not be where I am today, or probably who I am, without them. Father’s Day is a good time to reflect on the joys of fatherhood (and forget the rest).

I don’t remember much about Father’s days in the UK when I was a child. Being English we probably didn’t ‘celebrate’ in quite the way Americans do. When I was the age my eldest son is now (20) I had no idea I was going to lose my father three years later. He was not a demonstrative man but I know he loved his kids.

At twenty I’d just failed out of my first year at university and was taking a year off before going back and trying again at something else (Civil Engineering first and then Economics – they were more forgiving times).   When he died I was 23 and had an undergraduate degree – but became a bus driver.  Probably not the future that he foresaw for me after my earlier promising start in school (grade school as it’s called in the US).

It’s the desire of so many in later life; but I wish my Dad could see me now.

Someone recently asked what was the reason for my Stakhanovian work ethic (look it up – I did) and maybe I’m still trying to make up for what must have been his (unspoken) disappointment in my early life achievements.

So one of the reasons (if not the main one) for cutting back on bacon – and unhealthy foods in general – is a wish to have many more than four years to spend watching my own sons grow and find the road that will help them achieve their dreams. Not to mention having more time to paddle my feet beside my wife’s in a beautifully refreshing lake. I think it’s a sacrifice worth making.

In the meantime though, I thing there’s some bacon left over – and six months is a long time to wait before it’s on the menu again…

About Simon

Simon is an actor who found his way into audiobook narrating as a side-gig and seems to have made a success of it. With some training as an actor as a child (just a couple of hours a week, but it stuck) and 15 years working inside the BBC (ending up as one of the presenters/newsreaders on BBC Radio 4 in London) he found the ideal combination for an audiobook narrator. Found his way to California two decades ago and never left.

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3 Responses to Life is Good (a Father’s day blog)

  1. Mary Burkey June 23, 2010 at 5:51 am #

    Simon, what a lovely post! You’ve inspired me to set out on a camping trip the minute I return from ALA. This time, I hope to have not only son (and wife), but granddaughter along for the adventure. And you can be sure there will be plenty of bacon 😉

  2. Kiersten June 21, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    Well Simon, you sound like a great father — brought tears to my eyes! Your sons are very lucky young men.

    • Simon June 25, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

      I try to tell them…. but do they listen? 🙂

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